I'm still working on my Tokyo book. This "simple" design format makes it easier, but all the writing is slowing me down. : ) (Denise, my hat's off to you and everyone else who's done a travel book that involved lots of journaling. Wow!) Anyway, I finally finished my recap of day 3, my day-trip to Hakone. (Image is from the Library of Congress and depicts Hakone in the 1800s).
Journaling (if you're interested):
After two days in the city, I opted to take a day-trip out of town. Although Japan is a relatively small country and bullet trains make travel to other places quick and easy, with only one day to travel and sightsee, I decided to go to Fuli-Hakone-Izu Park, about 60 miles from Tokyo.
I left on the 8:53 a.m. train from Shinjuku station, which is the busiest rail station in Japan and the place everyone always thinks of when they mention the spectacle of rush hour in Tokyo. I took the “Romance Car” to Hakone Yumoto station, the departure point for the grand circuit through the Hakone area. I was initially a little nervous about doing this trip on my own since it involves many different transfers and connections as you go up and over the mountain, then across the lake. However, after reading a lot about it, I decided it was worth a shot going solo, as my other option was to go with a tour group. I’m so glad I opted to go it alone, since this allowed me to spend my time as I liked and on my own schedule.
From the Hakone station, I boarded the Tozan Railway, an electric tram that zigzags up the mountainside to Gora. There are numerous little resort towns and spas along the way, including Chokoku-no-Mori, where I got off for the Hakone Open-Air Museum. The museum features 20th century sculpture in a spectacular setting of forest glens, ponds and open gardens. Wow – what a place!
After lunch at the museum, I boarded the tram to finish my ride to Gora. Next up on the transportation circuit: a cable car up the side of Mount Hakone to Sounzan. This was a short ride and from there I boarded yet another kind of transport – a ropeway gondola that climbs over the top of the mountain and eventually down to Lake Ashi, on the other side. Although the weather was overcast, there were expansive views of the park from the gondola; I can only imagine how breathtaking this might be on a clear day. As it was, Mt. Fuji, the “Holy Mountain” remained thoroughly encased in clouds, a grand sight for another trip, I guess!
The highest point on the ropeway is Owakudani, the “Great Boiling Valley.” This area is full of thermal springs and sulfur pools, and I took a short nature walk up the mountain to see (and smell) the sights. Much like Yellowstone, the landscape looks a little unworldly, with golden-hued rocks and milky blue pools that contrast beautifully against the surrounding green mountainside.
Next: back on the ropeway down to Lake Ashi, where I traded trams and trains for a big pirate ship that sails across the lake to a small village called Hakone-Machi. Then, last but not least, a short, crowded bus ride down the mountain back to the main train station, where I caught the Romance Car back to Tokyo. I finally arrived at Shinjuku station around 7:00 p.m. – just in time to catch the end of commuter rush-hour. Wow! The traffic and sheer number of people traveling through the station almost makes Penn Station seem tame.
Even though it was a long day, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip out of the city. I didn’t see Mt. Fuji, but I did get to ride trains, trams, ropeways and boats all in the same day. So overall – a very fun adventure!
Hakone by Hiroshige Ando, (1797-1858)
From the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Collection
In this Project (All DD):
Hipster Plume Korners N Edges No. 04 BrushSet
Vintage Photo Frames No. 19
Alana Solids Paper Pack
Fonts: Voluta Script, Minion Pro, Interstate
Thanks for Looking! : )